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Synopsis

In response to the controversy generated over the question of abstract versus nonfigurative art, Raúl Lozza reminds the reader that he has long been of the opinion that the names are not the issue at stake. On this occasion, however, he refers to the fact that some people, in the early 1950s, had incorrectly considered Perceptivism to be part of nonfigurative, abstract, and concrete tendencies. According to Lozza’s definition, Perceptivism is not among those trends. 

Annotations

Raúl Lozza (1911–2008), the Argentine artist, was a member of the editorial board of Contrapunto [Counterpoint] magazine, and a founding member of the Asociación Arte Concreto — Invención [Concrete Art and Invention Association]. In 1947 he created Perceptivism, a movement that published its own magazine. In later years, Lozza worked on a theory concerning the relationships of color and on the concept of a colored field. 

Perceptismo. Teórico y Polémico [Perceptivism: Theoretical and Controversial] magazine was the official publication of the Grupo Perceptista. It was published seven times. Its issues were distributed in Buenos Aires between October 1950 and July 1953  and included articles written by Lozza, Rembrandt van Dyck Lozza, and Abraham Haber. The final issue was subtitled “Homenaje al esfuerzo por la paz” [A Tribute to Efforts to Promote Peace] but the group decided to withdraw it from circulation rather than risk having it seized by the authorities under the censorship imposed during President Juan Domingo Perón’s first term in office. 

Sur [South], one of the major literary magazines in Argentina, was founded and financed by Victoria Ocampo (1890–1979). It first appeared in 1931 and was in existence until 1988, although its publication schedule was somewhat flexible. The earliest contributors were poets and writers such as Jorge Luis Borges (1899–1986) and Norah Borges (1901–98), Guillermo de Torre (1900–71), Oliverio Girondo (1890–1967), Leopoldo Marechal (1900–70), Adolfo Bioy Casares (1914–99) and Silvina Ocampo (1903–94), among many others.

This article refers to Sur magazine’s survey on abstract and non-figurative art, which was inspired by the publication of open letters by Julio E. Payró (1899–1971) and Guillermo de Torre in issue number 202 of the magazine, which appeared in August 1951. Those discussions, in turn, were an extension of the ones generated by the terminology used by the French critic Léon Degand’s exhibition Arte Abstracto, del arte figurativo al arte abstracto [Abstract Art, from Figurative Art to Abstract Art], which opened in Buenos Aires in July 1949, and by the prologue written by de Torre for Joaquín Torres-García’s exhibition in April 1951. The debate over the name of “Abstract Art, Concrete Art, Nonfigurative or Nonobjective Art” is documented in the following files: 757530, 757649, 757489, 762983, 742825, 742858, 742171, 742187, 757674, 742202, 742156, 742838, 742837, 742834, 742715, and 742567. 

This article has been chosen because it illustrates Lozza’s opinion concerning the debates about “terms” that were fueled by the appearance of abstract art in Argentine artistic circles. The article also refers to Haber’s letter to de Torre, which was published in issue number 6 of Perceptismo [Perceptivism] magazine in January 1953.

Researcher
Cristina Rossi
Team
Fundación Espigas, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Credit
Courtesy of the private archives of Raúl Lozza, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Location
Fundación Espigas, Buenos Aires.